Private lab responds to DHEC calling them out over long wait times for COVID tests

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Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:17 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:34 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - After reports of it taking a private lab more than 48 hours to get COVID-test results back to patients, DHEC says it’s disappointed.

Some people have waited nearly a week to get results back.

DHEC blames it on private testing labs like Premier Medical Laboratory Services which it says have fallen behind from the volume of samples to internal staffing shortages.

And, the lab says wait times have been long due to staffing shortages and increase tests.

The lab added they have hired additional personnel and are working around the clock to fix the problem.

The Greenville lab and spokesperson Kristina Loughrey says staff members are aware of the problem and have hired more than 250 workers and millions of dollars in equipment to fix the issue.

“These turnaround times are extremely important to us that’s why we’re staffing and investing and working 24-7 to address the delays,” Loughrey said.

DHEC says staff continues to actively address issues with multiple COVID-19 testing vendors.

According to DHEC, facilities are also being reported for failures to process tests and report results and case counts since the omicron surge in late December.

“We sincerely apologize to all those negatively impacted by the substandard performance of select vendors and are working diligently to correct those issues,” DHEC said.

Premier Medical Lab Services says there was a 400 percent surge in tests in mid-December and that rose to 733 percent rise at its peak. Then, the winter storm we had last weekend was another hurdle for the lab.

“It all came at once then you add the record-breaking winter storm which didn’t help with staffing had minimal people allowed to be here,” Loughrey said.

Loughrey also says wait times should be back to normal in one and a half weeks, to three weeks.

At this time, Premier Medical Laboratory Services is hiring for lab technicians due to the shortage.

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